Arabian horses. Fairy princesses. And a 24-inch pony.
In Salt Lake City? Sound like a fairy tale? No, it was just the 27th annual Days of '47 All-Horse Parade.Monday night, more than 1,200 horses from all over Utah galloped and gaited down South Temple and Main streets, driven by rodeo queens and old-fashioned carriage drivers, while hundreds of parade watchers cheered them on.
The parade signaled the beginning of the Days of '47 Championship Rodeo, held in the Salt Palace July 18-25. The rodeo brings hundreds of world champion cowboys and rodeo queens to Utah for pioneer activities.
Parade participants included riding clubs, rodeo queens, political and community leaders, racing horses and drill groups, which were competing for more than $2,000 in trophies and cash prizes.
Bill McHenry, owner of Bill and Nada's Cafe for more than 42 years and a longtime parade participant, shed his apron and chef's hat for a blue and silver cowboy suit to serve as grand marshal. Mounted on a brown horse, McHenry showed off his silver saddle, a flashy get-up that caught everyone's attention.
McHenry was followed by the Days of '47 royalty. Queen Anne Madsen and attendants Elizabeth Nebeker and Maria Matthews, dressed in pink lace dresses, greeted the crowd from a horse-drawn carriage.
Gov. Norm Bangerter, dressed in jeans, a western shirt, cowboy hat and boots, waved from atop a beige horse.
Glade Peterson, founder of the Utah Opera, dressed in a silver and black western costume, rode his horse Danny Boy.
Several sheriff's posses were on hand, ready to track down runaway criminals on a moment's notice, and the Utah Pony Express Club was present, helping Utahns relive the spirit of the Old West.
The Golden Spike Mule Club also made an appearance, although their animals don't really qualify for an all-horse parade. But two Arabian horses stole the show when they appeared dressed in authentic Arabian costumes, complete with caps with scarves, ridden by two mysterious looking riders, their faces mostly hidden by their costumes.
Medieval times also were relived as two riders, dressed like fairy princesses, galloped by on horses in matching pink attire. And children shouted and clapped as a horse, no taller than a large German shepherd, trotted by, pulling a quaint, old-fashioned carriage.
When asked what she liked best about the parade, 6-year-old Kristen Gremillion shouted, "All of it!" However, her brother, Nathan, 4, liked the big horses best. It was the first visit for the Gremillion family to the parade.